Cover letters are your introduction to a potential employer, so you want to write one that can land you an interview! Based on its contents and presentation you can either make or break an opportunity to land the job of your dreams. Don’t blow it by submitting a lame summary that only covers the bare essentials and reads like an owner’s manual. Instead, follow these 9 writing hacks to ensure your cover letter stays out of the trash.
1. Write it in the Email Body
Did the job description not mention attaching a separate cover letter? Then don't. Since most jobs request emails, treat the body of your email as the cover letter itself. Make it short and sweet and just attach your resume. Here are some simple tips from Monster.com for writing an email cover letter.
2. Attach with Your Resume PDF
If you're required to submit a separate cover letter, don't make the recruiter or hiring manager open two separate documents: combine both your cover letter and resume in the same PDF.
3. Name Drop at the Top
Getting noticed by a hiring manager isn’t always about your skill, level of experience, or education. Sometimes, it’s about who you know. Dropping the name of a mutual contact can help...if it's not buried in the body of the letter. If you’re friends with or have worked with someone your potential employer knows, mention this in the very first sentence of your cover letter. It’ll instantly set you apart from all of the other applicants in the pile.
4. Keep it Formal
Even the most laid back, informal hiring manager can be put off by a job applicant that comes off presumptive. Your cover letter should be professional and formal, and should always address the recipient in a respectful manner.
5. Don’t Reuse the Same One
If you find yourself simply deleting the "Dear _____," and replacing the name at the top of your letter and recycling the same body - stop. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all cover letter. Each job you apply for is unique and deserves its own cover letter. Use the job listing itself to help you cater your cover letter to speak to the explicit needs of the employer.
6. Name Drop Companies
Recruiters love big names. Work for some impressive big name brands or companies? Find a non-obvious way to work them into your cover letter to entourage the reader to continue onto your resume.
7. Be Brief
Always be respectful of the fact your cover letter recipient is a busy person who doesn’t have all day to read your life story. Even if you feel that your accomplishments are extraordinary and deserve to be gone into in great detail, keep it simple - short and sweet always wins out over long and tedious. Economy of words always leads to greater impact.
8. Be Consistent
Regardless of whether you’re seeking long-term employment or short-term freelance assignments, always put the same level of effort into every cover letter you create. Just because a company is looking to hire a web designer or UI designer for a one-off gig doesn’t mean that assignment won’t blossom into a lucrative relationship down the line.
9. Use Your Business Card
A business card works just like a cover letter, so make sure all the info that's on your card winds up on your cover letter. There's nothing worse than loving a potential employee and not being able to get in touch with them. Another pro tip: Keep your business cards on your at all times says Life Hacker. You never know when you might find a potential job connection.
Need someone to look at your cover letter? Have questions about how Artisan Talent can help you with other cover letter writing tips or need to find a new job? Contact us today to learn more.